US sets $25 million for Marawi economic development

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 22 2018 05:18 PM | Updated as of Oct 22 2018 06:28 PM

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MANILA - The United States has allotted some $25 million or about P1.3 billion in assistance to jumpstart the economy and develop communities in war-torn Marawi City, its ambassador to the Philippines said Monday.

Ambassador Sung Kim was in Marawi last week and he said he "saw the worst of human behavior but also the best of human resilience" during his visit, which was the "most meaningful" one he had in his 2 years in the country.

The funds, through a 3-year program by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), will prioritize internally displaced persons and their host communities, he said.

This would allow for small grants for micro and small enterprises to get their businesses started again. It will also be used to train youth and women, he told ANC's Headstart.

Kim also announced the launch of the Empowering Madrasa Educator 2 program, which would provide long-term training for educators and administrators to improve their English proficiency and computer literacy. The project is valued at P12.7 million.

The US, the Philippines' defense ally, delivered critical military equipment to the Philippines, including the handover of 2 surveillance planes and counter-terror weapons in July 2017 to help flush Islamic State-inspired fighters from Marawi.

The US also earlier donated P730 million ($15 million) in humanitarian aid for relief and rehabilitation efforts in Marawi City.

Washington and Manila are bound by the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty and two other agreements that allow US troops to have rotating presence in the country.